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Showing 3 posts from May 2012.

On May 25, 2012, the Sixth Circuit rendered its decision in Sierra Club v. Korleski, No. 10-3269 (6th Cir. May 25, 2012), holding that there is no private right of action under Section 7604 of the  Clean Air Act (“CAA”), 42 U.S.C. § 7604, to compel a state to enforce its own State Implementation Plan (“SIP”) of the national air quality standards.  In doing so, it effectively overruled its own precedent, relying on an intervening Supreme Court decision which found no similar private right of action under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). Read More »

Plaintiffs continue to struggle in their attempts to obtain class certification in toxic tort cases, the most recent example being the May 14, 2012 decision in Earley v. Village of Crestwood, No. 09-CH-32969 (Cook County Ill).   In Earley, Plaintiffs brought suit ostensibly on behalf of the residents of Crestwood Village, contending that the municipality had been providing them with tap  water from a contaminated well for some twenty plus years.  In an opinion that does not even reach three pages in length, the trial court made quick work of their class action claims, focusing on proximate cause.  Relying on Smith v. Illinois Central RR, 223 Ill, 2d 441 (2006), which rejected class certification in mass toxic torts because of the complex and individual nature of establishing that the alleged contamination proximately caused each class members’ alleged injuries, the trial judge in Earley found that the necessity for each plaintiff “to establish the amount and type of their damages proximately caused by Defendants” would “overwhelm any common issues,” thus dooming certification.

With increasing frequency, courts around the country are using their inherent power to control the proceedings before them in order to structure environmental and toxic tort cases in such a way as to reduce, as much as possible, cases to their essence and, more importantly, ensure that the time and resources of parties are not needlessly wasted on discovery or lengthy proceedings when spurious claims are brought.  And that’s exactly what has happened in the case of Strudley v. Antero Resources Corp., No. 2011 CV 2218 (Denver Co. Dist. Court  May 9, 2012), where the Court dismissed plaintiffs’ claims against companies involved in drilling natural gas wells when the plaintiffs failed to show, prior to the initiation of discovery, that there was a prima facie basis for associating their personal injury claims with the defendants’ activities. Read More »